BEIJING, April 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, 2017 Tsinghua Aging Industry Forum was convened at Tsinghua University. Centering on the topic of "Layout & Positioning", the Forum discussed the layout of and opportunities in China's aging industry and the specific practical experiences of social organizations, enterprises and individuals. As a leading company of Nutrition, Health and Wellness, Nestle delivered a keynote speech on Nutrition as Part of Solution for Healthy Aging: It also Takes a Village for Healthy Aging in China.
Tsinghua Aging Industry Forum has been successfully held for 9 years and has become one of the most influential forum platforms in China's aging care industry. As the first food company invited by the forum, Nestle has always treated nutrition and wellness of the elderly as a focus and one of its research topics. Dr. Kai Yu from Nestle Research Center introduced Nestle's experiences and highlighted the important role of nutrition for healthy aging in China.
Aging gracefully and solve elderly chronic diseases with nutritional diet
According to the 6th Census data in 2010, population over 50 years old constituted 28.3% of the total population in China. By 2050, the ratio could reach 1/2. China faces severe aging problem. During the Forum, officials from the Family Development Division of the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the PRC (NHFPC) introduced the main message and background of the Planning of Development of the Aging Industry and the Elderly Care System in the 13th Five-Year Period. The Planning points out that compared to other countries, China faces more complex aging problems. The most severe ones include a large absolute number of old people and a rapidly increasing number of vulnerable elderly who live alone and who are disabled or partially disabled. The demand for elderly care industry is huge.
China State Assessment Report on Aging and Health jointly published by WHO and NHFPC validated the situation. The Report mentioned that average life expectancy in China was 76.3 years in 2015. However, average healthy life expectancy was only 66 years old. "In the ten year gap, physical function and quality of life are affected by chronic diseases and other risk factors. Narrowing the 10 year health gap is the main challenge for realizing nationwide healthy aging." Dr. Kai Yu said, "Nestle's research on healthy aging is dedicated to explore nutrition solution for helping to address this challenge. Nestle is committed to improving life quality of the middle aged and the old people and contributing to extending the average healthy life expectancy of the Chinese people by providing healthy nutrition for prevention of nutrition related chronic diseases."
During the keynote speech, Kai Yu introduced the concept of "biological age" which is based on measurements of biomarkers and functional indicators. "We usually say that an old person doesn't look like they are in their 70s and they look much younger. There is scientific foundation for why we say that. Published study have shown that biological age can vary up to 20 years depending on health conditions even for people of the same age." Promotion of a healthy life style including improving dietary quality and having sufficient nutrient intake is an important way for prevention of nutrition-relevant non-communicable chronic diseases, which is part of the explanation for the mismatch between biological age and chronological age. Enhancing the quality of life through support of healthy diet and optimal nutrition is the focus for Nestle's R&D in the elderly related area.
Increase diet's nutrition and realize the targets of average life expectancy
According to Global Burden of Disease Study, the leading factor influencing the Chinese healthy life expectancy was not the environmental factor as is a hot topic for the country, but dietary risk factor. Kai Yu said that evidences from epidemiological studies have shown that the association between dietary quality and healthy aging. A large scale meta-analysis involving cohort data of 396,000 people above 60 years old in Europe and the US sponsored by EU demonstrated that an increase of 10 Healthy Diet Indicator points was significantly associated with a decrease risk of all-cause mortality, equivalent to a two year increase in life expectancy." In laymen's word, the finding of the research suggested that it was never too old to eat healthy.
In October 2016, the national Healthy China 2030 Plan proposed that by the year 2030, there is a goal to increase average life expectancy in China to 79 years old, 3 years increase from 76 years in 2015. Kai Yu believed that the improvement of dietary quality and nutrition status would be an important contributor to reach this goal. "Considering the fact that dietary risk as the no.1 risk factor of suboptimal health condition, improving dietary quality could be an important approach to modify risk factors and helping to reach the national goal of increasing life expectancy of the population."
China elderly dietary nutrition research carried out by Nestle Research Center and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that among the 11 food categories in residents' dietary pagoda, intake of dairy products and fruits were the two categories that most insufficient compared to the dietary recommendation guideline for population over 60 years old. The daily intake of the two was just around 30 grams, only 10% of the recommended intake level.
Enhancing dietary quality is the advice and practice consistently implemented by Nestle in elderly care. Apart from encouraging the elderly to take more dairy products and fruits, Nestle has also innovated dairy products for the cardiovascular benefits of the middle aged and the elderly people with its R&D excellence. Based on expertise from its global food and health R&D network, Nestle launched Yiyang milk powder in China, which was supplemented with phytosterol ester, an ingredient with cardiovascular health benefit. Through clinical trials, Nestle proved for the first time the clinical efficacy of phytosterol ester added milk powder on lowering total cholesterol and LDL-C in a Chinese population and the research was received and published by the leading journal in the field -Chinese Journal of Cardiology.
Establish partnership and construct countermeasure system for aging
One of the topics of the forum was how government, social organizations, enterprises and individuals could establish synergy in constructing elderly care service system. Nestle proposed to establish healthy aging industry partnership.
In his speech, Dr. Kai Yu from Nestle R&D cited Finland as an example to show the importance of cross-function collaboration in helping a country to achieve healthy aging: "the success of Finland is a thrilling case to show if people from different walks of life join together, they can change the world." To reduce its world leading CVD incidence, Finland initiated a pilot community intervention in early 1970s and later upgraded to a nationwide program. Promoted by the government, supported by the Finnish people including industry and lay people, and strengthened by scientific innovation, the national dietary habit was changed. During 35 years' time, mortality of CVD was reduced by 75% (mortality of cancer was reduced by 53% in the same period), making Finland the example of prevention of non-communicable chronic disease recommended by WHO.
"The cooperation proposed by Nestle is also a kind of partnership that serves the elderly with more suitable products and services in different aspects in life," said Kai Yu. A while ago, Nestle Yiyang and iQIYI video created "Yiyang 50+ Channel". It is the first video service platform for the elderly in China, providing the elderly with health and wellness information and programs that they are interested in. Nestle Yiyang also collaborated with Xiaomi Mobile on introducing a Yiyang theme pack tailored for the middle aged and the elderly. In the future, Nestle will continue to expand partnership and implement its motto of Creating Shared Value in the healthy aging industry.
Nestle R&D used to carry out cultural anthropology studies to compare cross-cultural understanding of aging, with countries studied including China, France, Germany and Russia. The research found out that one common theme of people from different countries when they talked about aging was that instead of talking about age in absolute number, they would take a comparative perspective that make them younger. Marriane Tsanis, Head of Dairy Unit, Nestle Greater China said: "People will not always be young. However through appropriate nutritional diet, and a healthy life style, people can maintain a young condition for longer time. Nestle pays great attention to the genuine request of the middle aged and the elderly. This also reflects Nestle's purpose "Enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future".